Jan. 6 was apparently the breaking point for Nikki Haley.
An ambassador to the United Nations for two years in the Trump administration, Haley told Politico that her former boss has spiraled out of control and that she was "disgusted" by his attacks on former Vice President Mike Pence just before the deadly Capitol riot. She also predicted that Trump’s political career is over, with or without a conviction at his second impeachment trial.
What You Need To Know
- Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told Politico that Donald Trump, her former boss, has spiraled out of control and that she was “disgusted” by his attacks on former Vice President Mike Pence
- Her remarks to Politico revealed a significant shift in her thinking and could foreshadow how she presents herself if she runs for president
- She did not believe Trump's false claims about election fraud but made no attempt to convince him otherwise and remained silent publicly
- After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, she said Trump "let us down" and confidently predicted Trump would not run for federal office again
"We need to acknowledge he let us down," she said, referring to Trump's actions leading up to Jan. 6. "He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again."
While Haley has made no announcement, Politico’s Tim Alberta wrote that based on nearly 70 interviews with people who know her and other actions she has taken — including securing commitments from top party strategists — the former South Carolina governor is planning to run for president in 2024.
As ambassador to the U.N., Haley struck a delicate balance in being able to criticize Trump while staying on the good side of the Republican Party and his fervent base.
But her remarks to Politico revealed a significant shift in her thinking and could foreshadow how she presents herself in a White House run. Prior to the insurrection at the Capitol, Haley had said she did not believe, like Trump falsely claimed, that the presidential election had been stolen, but she made no attempt to convince him otherwise and remained silent publicly.
Haley said Trump genuinely believed his claims of election fraud and was being misled by people around him, but she thought he would accept his defeat after exhausting his court challenges, namely one filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that was eventually rejected by the Supreme Court.
However, after the assault on the Capitol, her tone changed.
Haley, who said she had previously warned Trump about the weight his words carry with his supporters, said she had to turn off her TV when the then-president told a crowd of his loyalists near the White House that he wanted Vice President Mike Pence to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College that day, something Pence had no authority to do.
"When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement," Haley told Politico. "Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He’s been nothing but a good friend of that man. … I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it."
She confidently predicted Trump would not run for federal office again.
"I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture," Haley said. "I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far."
"Never did I think he would spiral out like this," she went on to say. "I don’t feel like I know who he is anymore ... the person that I worked with is not the person that I have watched since the election."
Haley, however, said she believes impeaching Trump is a "waste of time." The House impeached him on Jan. 13 for "incitement of insurrection," and the Senate is holding his trial this week, which is expected to end in his acquittal.
When asked how Trump could be held accountable, she said: "I think he’s going to find himself further and further isolated. I think his business is suffering at this point. I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving."